Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What's Cooking? Small Potatoes, New Beginnings

Dear readers, you may be wondering where I have been lately; why My Munchable Musings (henceforth MMM) has been so acutely neglected. A blog is an interesting beast, and can be many different things depend on the user and the audience. But while a personal blog may educate or entertain, it ultimately serves the needs of its writer. MMM was born out of necessity to maintain an underemployed recent graduate's sanity; it followed me all the way from the "Best" Coast to our Nation's Capital; and it has since endured moves within the city, travel abroad, disappointments and triumphs, farmers market produce and a hefty serving of baked goods. As MMM approaches its fourth year online, it seems to be time for change once again - this time, we'll close out our fourth year together across The Pond.

This week begins the epic Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo), in which I have participated since 2010. Essentially, bloggers are challenged with posting five days per week, ranging from complex thematic pieces to an instagram shot of lunch. The first year I toyed with weekly themes; during year two I started a version of the thematic days that I still follow; and last year's month paled in comparison to prior years. And while this year I have no lofty plans or aspirations, it should be an interesting ride amid a Vegan Month of Food (and Travel)...more to come tomorrow.

For now, let us turn our attention to the important matter - new potatoes. To me the trusty spud is a bit of a miracle. You plant one of these South American natives - one a little past its prime, with eyes starting to form - in fertile ground; cover it with lots of compost over and over as it grows; watch as the flowers bloom and then begin to die off. Three or four months later you can carefully dig through the earth in search of the little tots that proliferated underground. Around this time of year, new potatoes with thin skins, like a gentle casing of tissue paper, grace the market stalls and offer possibilities of delicate side dishes for eager market-goers. Only to put icing on the cake, a cherry on your sundae - they're purple.

Purple Pan Potatoes
4 small-medium new purple potatoes, small cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 big handfuls spinach leaves (or kale), coarsely shredded
1/2 tbs grapeseed oil
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika (smoked if you're feeling adventurous) 
Sea salt, to taste

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until starting to turn translucent, then toss in all that lovely garlic. Lower heat and continue to cook another few minutes.
2. In go the taters, covering the skillet with a top to retain moisture and steam them to tenderness. Give it perhaps tens minutes, stirring or unsticking every now and again. 
3. When they are fork-tender, add in the spinach and cover again for a couple of minutes to let the leaves wilt. Add nooch, paprika, and salt. Serve hot as an accompaniment to some pan-fried tempeh or some nice beans. 

Potatoes, while they seem so unassuming, so humble and commonplace, have been the lifeline for people in ages past (and probably in some places today). And the amazing thing is that every potato (like a clove of garlic or a kernel of popping corn) has the potential to yield a whole new crop. Here's to new beginnings...

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